Jonathan Dos Santos spoke to Spanish media today on Gerard Piqué’s recent controversial comments, the style of Tata Martino’s team so far, and how the Argentine persuaded Dos Santos not to leave Barça.
Regarding Piqué’s recent statement that Barça felt “enslaved” by their slow build, possession-based approach, Dos Santos felt that his teammate was “misinterpreted.” “He [Piqué] has grown up here at Barcelona, with Barcelona’s philosophy, and the team has always played with that philosophy.” Although Barça’s style of distribution has incorporated more long balls under Martino so far, Dos Santos emphasized that this was not a fundamental departure of philosophy: “The team is still playing the same way. It is true that the boss is asking us for what we lost a little last year, which was that intensity in pressing opponents, and to be more vertical… but I do not think there is a [big] difference.”
Dos Santos went on to explain how the arrival of Tata Martino not only tweaked Barça’s tactics, but also convinced him not to move on loan to Real Sociedad, revealing, “I had everything almost finalized with Real Sociedad but in the end, with Tata’s arrival, I stayed.” Martino has made it clear that he has faith in Dos Santos, and that there will be significant rotation to accommodate his high-pressing style. The 23-year-old Mexican midfielder has only played 10 minutes so far this season, against Valencia – but that is still 1/6th the amount he played in all league games under Vilanova last year.
In a World Cup year, players around the world have transferred from bigger to smaller clubs in order to secure a starting spot and attract the attention of their national team coaches. Dos Santos’ decision to stay is a bold one, especially considering that he has not yet been called up for a competitive match with the national team – unlike his older brother, Giovani, also a former Barça youth. “Things have been marvelous for him [Gio] for two years now,” Jonathan admitted. “But I believe he made a mistake in leaving Barça. Here he could have played, but he took that decision and he does not regret it.”
Jonathan Dos Santos has shown extraordinary determination to make it at Barça, against all odds. Competing with the best midfielders in the world, Jona spent much of last year relegated to the stands, not even making the bench on most occasions. But Dos Santos is playing a long game, and believes there may be hope yet. “You need a lot of patience to succeed at Barça,”, he said. “Players start to stand out at 24 or 25. I can play here, I have the game for it, but I need to work and learn from my team-mates. My dream is to succeed at the best team in the world. It is difficult to make it into the first team, but I do not want to drop that dream.” Many players dream of playing for Barcelona, but few have displayed the stubborn determination and patience that Jonathan Dos Santos has. With the departure of the far less patient Thiago Alcântara, and the promising arrival of Tata Martino, Dos Santos may yet realize his dream – and what an extraordinary tale that would be.
Source: espnfc.com; Image: Miguel Ruiz, fcbarcelona.com